Customized Flexible Packaging Design Options Drive Demand

Did you know that one of the major trends in packaging today is the shift by manufacturers from rigid packaging to flexible packaging? A recent report by TMR Research explains how flexible packaging allows for the customization of barrier properties, sizes, and closures. Flexible packaging is simply more…flexible.

Why Flexible Packaging?

Flexible packaging wins on many levels. It is lightweight and compact, allowing for more efficient transportation and requiring less storage space. It also uses less material, so there is a large cost benefit when compared with rigid packaging. Moreover, there are a wide variety of customization options available, which means finding the optimal packaging solution for a particular product.

Flexible packaging requires much less storage space than rigid packaging due to its compactness.

Flexible packaging requires much less storage space than rigid packaging due to its compactness.

The TMR Research report forecasts significant growth in flexible packaging within the next few years based on the inherent benefits of flexible packaging as well as continued technological innovations in the field. The report notes that flexible packaging is widely used in the confectionery and frozen foods categories, as well as throughout the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.

4 Major Benefits of Customization

Flexible packaging becomes even more flexible through customization. This is appealing to manufacturers when it means an improvement in the product, in the process, or in customer satisfaction.

  1. Shelf-Life Extension A variety of film materials can be used in flexible packaging. Individual polymers can be used such as LLDPE for fresh vegetable packaging. LLDPE allows the oxygen transfer required by fresh vegetables for optimal shelf life.Flexible packaging can also incorporate multiple materials through coextrusion or lamination using polymers, metal foils, and even paper. Incorporating ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) or aluminum foil are two options for creating an excellent moisture and oxygen barrier. For products sensitive to spoilage, oxidation, or other degradation reactions, the right film is key to achieving optimal shelf life. The right packaging material can even block UV rays.
  2. Convenience Flexible packaging can also be customized to improve convenience—for the manufacturer or for the customer. For example, bag-in-box flexible packaging and intermediate bulk container (IBC) liners can be designed for top filling or bottom filling. In addition, holes added to IBC liner flaps can help hold the liner in place during filling. Accessories such as fill bridges and bag holders are also available to make the filling process easier. Another example of convenient design is a bag with a vertical fill spout, instead of angled, which is stronger, easier to fill, and simple to reseal.On the dispensing side, there are not only a variety of fitments available (e.g., vertical twist, horizontal twist, and press tap) but also the option of custom fitment location. Customized convenience also extends to custom sizes and designs including features such as handles and zips.
  3. Safety Product safety can be tightly controlled with flexible packaging. Seal strength can be adjusted through material or adhesive selection. Seal thickness can also be customized. The strength of the flexible packaging itself can be controlled through material selection. This is important to maintaining product integrity and preventing loss during transportation and handling. Moreover, tamper-evident fitments are available for flexible packaging products such as bag-in-box and IBC liners.
  4. Sustainability Sustainability in packaging includes the use of materials that are readily recyclable, as well as the use of less packaging overall. Another component is reducing product loss by using packaging with improved strength. This can be achieved through the material or the design. Product loss can also be reduced with innovations such as CDF’s Air-Assist IBC liners, which help expel viscous products like tomato sauce, improving the yield from 95 percent to 99.5 percent.

Customization Opportunities with CDF

CDF Corporation has a long history of innovation in flexible packaging, from accordion inserts to unique IBC liner valves. CDF’s high level of expertise and service ensure a reliable partner for custom food packaging. CDF can provide custom dimensions, materials, fitment location, lip thickness, and even venting for bag-in-box and IBC liners. As an SQF-certified facility, CDF has your food packaging needs covered. Download our corporate brochure to learn more.

Achieve Sustainability and Cost Savings with High-Quality Drum Liners

Drum liners

When it comes to problems with drums, liners can hold the line.

Steel and plastic drums, from 12 to 55 gallons, have long been a popular way to ship bulk food ingredients. They are sturdy and relatively easy to store and handle. However, they also present certain challenges. They can be hard to evacuate completely; cleaning and reconditioning them is labor-intensive; and products that are abrasive, high in acid, or otherwise aggressive can wear them down, requiring expensive replacement.

Drum liners can help mitigate or even eliminate these problems.

Made from flexible or semi-rigid polymers, drum liners protect both the drum and the product inside. They make cleaning easier, and can even remove the need for it entirely in certain closed-loop applications. They serve as an additional barrier for the product, protecting it from both contaminants on the drum’s inside walls and the outside world in general. They also keep the drum from constant contact with the product, extending its life and making it a better candidate for reconditioning or recycling when it does reach the end of its usefulness.

CDF Corp. makes a range of drum liners to fit all the relevant variables in a drum application: product type and viscosity, sanitary requirements, static hazards, and evacuation method. Straight-sided liners are available for 12-, 16-, 30- and 55-gallon drums. For 55-gallon drums (the most common bulk shipment size), four structural variations are available:

Straight-sided: This is most often recommended for highly viscous products that must be evacuated by a pump with a follower plate that descends into the drum, squeezing the product upward.

Accordion liners: These have pleats that allow them to adjust in height. They are suitable for users who have to fill drums of varying heights and do not want to store multiple sizes of liners.

Combination liners: These have sides that combine a band of accordion pleats with straight walls. They are good for users who have to use a follower-plate pump but need to accommodate different drum heights.

Vented inserts: These liners include four holes near the top to vent trapped air during a fill, allowing drums to be filled with the lid on.

Other specialized liners include anti-static liners, which are designed to eliminate static that can build up during filling with powder and become a nuisance (or worse), and hot-fill liners that can withstand temperatures of up to 350°F.

Drum linersCDF Corp. also has useful accessories for drum filling, including strainer inserts, interior and exterior lid covers, and dust caps.

For more information on the benefits and options of drum liners, download our corporate brochure.

Is Inflatable Flexible Packaging Right for Your Brand?

Inflatable packaging is blowing up.

When it comes to protecting and transporting products safely and reliably, various forms of inflatable packaging are popular options. These include: air-filled protective inserts that cushion and anchor products inside a carton or shipping case; flexible packaging for solid particulates, kept taut with air; and flexible packaging, individual and bulk, filled with liquid, powder, or granular particulates.

The most familiar form of inflatable protective packaging is Bubble Wrap, introduced by Sealed Air in 1960. The two scientists who developed it originally meant it to be a fun kind of wallpaper.

“Although their invention never caught on as interior decor, the two men discovered their new material’s lightweight and insulating properties were very useful—first as greenhouse insulation and then as the packing material we now know as Bubble Wrap®,” says the Sealed Air website.

Filling the Void

Another popular form of inflatable protective packaging is plastic bags or pillows that fill voids around a product inside a carton or case. This kind of packaging increased with the advent of e-commerce, used often by Amazon and others. Unlike alternatives like molded paper, or solid or loose-fill foam, protective bags store easily on a roll and can be inflated only when needed. They can be reused for applications like return shipments and can be made of recycled plastic, plant-based polymers, or other ecologically friendly material.

“Inflatable systems require a modest capital investment, but large volume packers can negotiate discounts on equipment by entering into long-term contracts with the manufacturer,” according to an article in Packaging Digest.

Flexible packagingFlexible packages for solid products in particulate form often incorporate air for a sleek, taut appearance. This is usually seen in form-fill-seal applications, where the machine “blows open” the pocket formed by the sealed front and back webs while the product flows down into it. This both protects the package during shipping and improves its aesthetics; think of a nice, tight, pillow-like bag of potato chips.

Flexible bulk packaging, for bag-in-box and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), is another form of inflatable packaging, filled with liquid product instead of air. It has certain advantages in common with both protective and particulate-filled flexible packaging. Like protective packaging, it is lightweight and can be readily recycled, especially in business-to-business applications where collection and return can be easily organized. Like packaging for solid particulates, a complete fill will result in taut, good-looking walls—important in applications like a consumer bag-in-box package where the box is cut away to allow buyers to see the product inside the bag.

The inflatable aspect of flexible bulk packaging confers another advantage; it is also deflatable. Product can be squeezed out for evacuation with nearly 100 percent efficiency. This is significant for high-value viscous products like honey, which tend to cling to the walls of rigid IBCs.

For more information about the advantages of bag-in-box packaging, download our brochure.